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business model

Stick to the vision and the plan

By | customer centric marketing, Value Proposition, vision | No Comments

Today I had a conference call with a prospect who was looking at running a campaign. It was clear that the campaign was relying on a lot of external factors and was not in his core competency or something he felt comfortable doing. This is a common scenario for SMBs as lead generation becomes more of a marketing skill set and less sales. PlanningMaking decisions about what work to take on or what lead generation campaigns to run always come back to two key questions:
1. What are we really good at?
2. What is our vision for this business?

If it doesn’t tick both of these core questions then it is best to walk away, no run!
Don’t get me wrong I am all about Audacious but always ask the question:
Why am I doing this? We sometimes get so caught up in the doing that we forget to check-in and see if it is the best use of our time and resources. If you need to outsource it and it still ticks all the boxes as an activity that is worth the effort then great.
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When you have a well defined purpose and a well defined set of values or business principles it makes big and every day decisions easier. It gives you a filter. Bernadette Jiwa from TheStorytelling.com has a great download 20-questions-to-ask-yourself-before-launching-an-idea. Most of these questions can be applied to any marketing or business decision.

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Vision Mission and Values2

Who do we intend to be? Why are we here? What’s the point?

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tomPeters_preorder_167x275.pngThe first question businesses often face when creating their vision or strategic direction is that of what are we going to sell or business model?  Perhaps more important questions according to Tom Peter’s latest book, The Little BIG Things are  “who do we intend to be? Why are we here? What’s the point?”

Customers and employees have so much choice, there are so many “me too’s” and they are choosing to  for work and buy from companies those companies that are remarkable and they really like. Thus, the questions around the companies values, vision and value proposition have never been more in the spotlight than right now.

When you look at these questions they are really at the core of your businesses identity and  your brand. They go beyond dollar and cents or product and services and speak more to customer needs and employee satisfaction. Who do we intend to be? This forces you to think about your behaviour. Evaluate how you play, what role you fulfil? How you are thought of ? Why are we here? It is more about what are the reasons beyond financial. What sort of environment do you want to create in the workplace?  What is the customer experience like? What is the point? is about the legacy you are likely to leave.  Are you memorable?

When I am creating a vision with CEOs I am often surprise how meaningless they become because they have lost sight of the key reason that the company exists. What customer problems they are trying to solve? What gives their work meaning? Companies that have asked these key questions often have a brand and a culture that is remarkable, defendable and authentic. Customers and employees want companies to care. People identify with companies that stand for something valuable to them.

As a CEO a clear, deep, and profound understanding of who you are and what you stand for, and what you want to be known for is critical. So much of the personality of a company is dictated by the CEO values and behaviours. Look at Virgin and Richard Branson, Apple and Steve Jobs, or Microsoft and Bill Gates. So like it or not, you are a brand as a CEO, it is just whether that brand is well-known or not and whether it resonates with the product and service and culture you are trying to deliver.

It is not enough to be known for what you do — you must be known for what you do differently! What are your values? What do you love? What do you hate? What are you insanely great at doing? What are you most proud of? What do you want to be? What is important and valuable to you? What do you want to be known for?

I contend that as a CEO, these are questions that you need to answer first and these are the hardest to answer. Once you have the answers, it is all about keeping that promise and living out that story of who you intend to be consistently in your brand promise, in your vision statement,  in your value proposition and in the way you do business.

Being consistent, authentic and clear provides employees and customers a level of confidence and trust that they can depend on. The disconnect between saying what you think you are and not behaving that way, is the fastest way to damage your reputation.

So key roles for the CEO are as follows:

1.A critical step is to define values that make the brand remarkable as define everything you do and don’t do under the name of your brand. Tom Peters suggests thoughtfulness as a key value today because it is so underplayed. Who do you intend to be in the marketplace?

2. Have a clearly defined brand mission, vision, and values. Authenticity plays a pivotal role, as does getting your staff involved in the process. After all, it is how you and they embody these ideals that will enable your brand to be authentic, consistent and remarkable. It is critical that staff understand the question: Why are we here? The answer should be something they can believe in and be proud of.

3.Brand building happens at every touch-point with the consumer and employee. That doesn’t only mean the product packaging or how our stores look. It goes far beyond that. It includes the support that we provide to our channel partners, how we met their needs, the personal service for our athletes, and the interaction of our service staff in every single moment with the customer.

4. Create the culture the mindset and motivation of every single employee and that they can make a difference and contribute. Happy employees equals happy customers. For employees it  includes our staff newsletter, work function, lunchroom,  bathrooms whether the CEO is approachable, how they make contributions and if they are heard!

6.Be ambitious. You have to want to create something really special. More than anything else you need to realise your leadership shapes the culture, environment, people, strategy and your offering in the marketplace. People want to work for and buy from people they really like and aspire to be.

5. Let the world know how you are different and what contribution you are going to make and you will be on the right track! Be proud, act proud and shout loudly.

Why is it important to have a business model?

By | Marketing training, Sales skills, small business marketing | No Comments

First question, what is a business model? A business model is a framework, the engine room that you use to run and have visibility to your business. It answers the questions for all business decisions that you make. How do you intend to make money and what model will you use to sustain your business.

According to wisegeek.com “The business model is simply a working description that includes the general details about the operations of a business. The components that are contained within a business model will address all functions of a business, including such factors as the expenses, revenues, operating strategies, corporate structure, and sales and marketing procedures. Generally speaking, anything that has to do with the day to day functionality of the corporation can be said to be part of the business model.”

A business model is focused on value creation. It acts as a framework to take what you create or make and turn that innovation into an economic equasion. It takes into account the entire value chain of the organisation.

BUSINESS MODEL: Connecting Resources, Capabilities, and Innovation to Economic Outputs

BUSINESS MODEL: 6 Components of Business Models

What is the business model of your organisation? Is it complicated. It is easy to understand. Is it used to make decisions? According to Changewave a business model means: What does a company do? How does a company uniquely do it? In what way (ways) does the company get paid for doing it? How much gross margin does the company earn per average unit sale?”

Business knowhow blog give some good examples of some simple business models for a  consultant:

Monthly Retainer – When you ask clients to pay by the month in advance, you can charge for your availability, not just service delivered. Your retainer can guarantee you a fixed number of hours. If the client uses less, you still get paid.

Product-Based Models

Flat Fee – A wide variety of items can be sold for a flat fee to increase revenue to your business. “Products” can also include services delivered in a defined package. Your buyers may be either existing clients, or others who can’t afford to hire you individually.

Subscription – Providing products or services by subscription can provide a steady source of income and reduce marketing time. A sale made only once can continue to provide revenue.

Bait and Hook – Also called the “razor and blades” model.

Examples: A time management consultant offering a training program including day planners that must be re-ordered; a web designer providing proprietary modules under a license that must be renewed annually.

Any one of these models can be used to build an entire business, or you can combine different models together. For example, a consultant could charge a flat fee for assessments, then a day rate to deliver services. A coach could charge a subscription fee for group clients and a monthly retainer for clients worked with individually.

You can see how the business model does shape your business and it is important to flesh out exactly what model is going to work best for you and importantly your customers.

MOST BUSINESSES DON”T HAVE ONE! this is the scary truth but most small businesses I see don’t. Maybe it is about time you looked at how you operate. How do you make decisions? What information do you have about the process? Do you forecast and choose your customers? If not maybe you need to create a business model.

Here is a good model to look at in terms of a starting point to ask the right questions:

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